Leica 100 years

Long time since my last post here. The personal project I’m developing has been quite demanding in the last months and so has my professional activities.

Got the chance, last week, to visit the exhibition on the Leica 100 years. Amazing thing!!

100 Years of Leica Photography

100 Years of Leica Photography

100 years ago Leica has changed photography. From the old large format cameras with photographic plates, Oskar Barnack, head of microscope research for “Ernst Leitz Optische Werke”, created a camera that was compact and portable and would carry a roll of film inside, allowing for a “quick reload” to be ready for the next shot. This way the 35mm camera was born, the LEItz CAmera … LEICA!

The exhibition shows the most important cameras of Leica cameras, as a replica of the “null serie”, the “ur-leica” and first ones (IA, II, IIIA, IIIF, M2, M3, M6 …) until the current ones from the digital era (M8, M9 and M).

The other side of the exhibition are the images shot with Leica cameras. The majority of the iconic pictures we can think were made with Leica cameras. Think Henri Cartier-Bresson, Robert Capa or Alfred Eisenstaedt. The portability of Leica allowed images to be taken in special places, like the engineering side of the Hindenburg zeppelin, or images of daily things.

The exhibition is 100% worth it. If you’re in Munich, you still have two weeks to see it (until June 5th).

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Google Nik Collection is now free

Some years ago there was some great software/photoshop plug-in call “Nik Software”. They had some of the best software for color treatment and for black & white conversion in the market.

Google Nik Collection

A couple of years later, Google, in its quest for photography experience (Picasa, that was integrated with Google+, that was moved to Google Photos) bought Nik Software and bundled all the independent software into a suite (the Google Nik Collection) and started selling it for a fairly good price.

The discussion back then was, what will happen to the software itself? Google incorporated the plug-ins to their photo interface, when using Chrome, so you could do a lot of work in the web, but no update to the plug-ins actually happen (we’re still on Color Effects 4 and on Silver Effects 2). They just maintained it working in new platforms.

Last week Google announced that due to their focus in photo editing tools for mobile, like Google Photos and Snapseed, they decided to make the Nik Collection for Desktop free. They will even refund people that bought it in 2016.

Needless to say the amount of discussion that has caused, people in the internet like to complain, no matter why, but the main points are those.

– You can have the Nik Collection for free now. So if you don’t have it yet, or are using a pre-historical version of it, you can now have it for free and it’s 100% worth it.

– Very likely there will be upgrades to the tools. Nothing new, we had probably none since Nik was bought. The question is if Google will maintain the technical part (running on new systems) working, or if it will go to their “abandonware”, until they decide to stop distributing it.

For all scenarios we have no control, they are a private company, so all we can do is enjoy the tools for free while they still work. They are worth it!!

You can download the collection here.

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The unknown unknowns

Long time without blogging. Big personal project, not related to photography taking most of my available time. Now I’ve got a small break and interesting circumstances.

Stuttgart

Stuttgart

5 years ago, I had just bought my first dSLR, after years shooting only with a point-and-shoot camera. I had to go to Stuttgart for a visit to the consulate (problems of people that leave abroad). We turned it into a family trip and I took the camera around the city and to the Mercedes Benz Museum.

5 years later, another family trip to Stuttgart, for the same reason (documents expire to fast😉 ) and that got me thinking, how different would my shots be?

In the first visit I was very enthusiastic, but totally raw and uninstructed. Basically I didn’t know how much there is to know to take good pictures (the unknown unknowns).

In this visit, unfortunately, I couldn’t shoot as much as I wanted to. Weather, bigger family and the unavoidable argument of “we’ve already seen this place last time”. We went to some new places, but in any case we managed to get again to the Mercedes Benz Museum.

For the museum visit I went all geared up. Flash and a 50mm for the low light, but the 18-135mm had to be around, because rooms are not so large and some displays are not so close that a 50mm would do the whole trick. Despite being a great museum (more on that later), bags are not allowed. You can take whatever gear you want, but not a bag, so all the gear ended up in the baby stroller, and needless to say that after 15 minutes wife, baby and stroller went separate ways leaving me and my older son walking around. I know, my bad to even think the stroller would be around, but thanks honey for taking care of that:-)

So, basically the shots for the museum and for the city were done with the same gear, what will make a comparison more interesting. Haven’t got the time to even look at the shots, but I hope they will be better than the old ones, otherwise I better just sell my gear and get another hobby. I’m sure the HDR treatment I did to one of the old shots will NEVER be repeated, it was horrible hehehehe

About the museum. They are totally worth a visit. They are realistic. You can shoot (can’t take a bag though) at will. They know people will, so no way and no need to prevent. Is not like they have painting on canvas. You can’t go up the platforms and therefore go in the vehicles, unless otherwise stated, but you can put your hands at them. Not a “don’t touch” museum. They know people have eyes in their hands. You’re not suppose to lean over and leave you fingerprints all over the place, but no scolding for touching it. This, per se, already makes the experience very children friendly. Add to that some experiments, touch information screens and videos around the place, and you have happy kids of all ages!!! Really worth a visit! Gotta try the Porsche Museum next time, but I’m convinced it won’t be as children friendly.

I’ll comment here as soon as I have a comparison between the shots with this 5 years baseline, and I highly encourage you to re-shoot some places, if you have the chance.

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Sebastião Salgado, Genesis

I have been to a fantastic exhibition two weekends ago, and couldn’t share it here due to a long/never ending extremely busy week!

Sebastião Salgado, Genesis exhibition

Sebastião Salgado, Genesis exhibition

Sebastião Salgado, Genesis. Since he is a Brazilian artist, Linguarte, the school for Brazilian culture in Munich, decided to take the kids there and I joined them as parent and (well …) “photographer”:-)

The exhibition is outstanding, to say the least. Really amazing. If you ever have the chance to see it, don’t miss it, and if not, probably I would suggest you to get the book.

The main topic is life, as a whole.

We had a bit of Salgado’s history, before heading to the exhibition, with some videos for the kids and a small biography. Salgado was an up and coming economist, back in the 70’s, and gave up his promising career to follow his passion for photography, and it paid of!!

His TED talk РSebastịo Salgado is also something worth watching!
~

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Seeing light

I had the intention to write about something else, now coming back from the end of the year season, but the light in the morning was just beautiful and I decided to write about light:-)

Garching 1100 years - Light cubes sculptures (photo: Cris da Rocha)

Garching 1100 years – Light cubes sculptures (photo: Cris da Rocha)

Yes! I was taking my kids to school in a rainy morning (no snow yet around here), very blue, but the horizon was clear and this blue-hour light gradient was just beautiful! The beauty/curse of the winter around here is a sunrise around 8:00:-)

After that, driving to work this narrow strip of light, between the horizon and the clouds just look wonderful in the buildings, including a full rainbow, due to the light shower over the city. Driving with no camera at hand (not a good one), all I could do was to appreciate the light. Actually it was not a photographic scene, it was just beautiful light. This got me thinking about light for a while.

One thing I noticed since I came back to photography was that I started to appreciate light. It’s kind of obvious and necessary. I think is Joe McNally that says you should always study the light, even when not shooting. I really like looking at light and seeing what it does and how it looks. I still need to work A LOT to put all this light in an image, but I’m in the process, slowly by steadily.

This appreciation of light is something you loose if you don’t work on it. For years I simply didn’t care about it. As a young teenager I remember observing the light, maybe this “observer” inside of my was what drove me to a scientific career, but then life gets on the way and you start focusing on the immediate needs and forget about the little things. An image I have in my memory was a visit to a Gothic church when I was 13 or 14 years old, and I was hypnotized by a single stream of sunlight coming from the root of this huge dark church and the dust like glittering in the stream. I’ll come back to this place someday to shoot this image.

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